Texas Living

Elotes Recipe: Texas’ Favorite Street Food

By Peter Simek 8.12.19

Corn was domesticated in Central America between 6600 and 3500 B.C., so it’s safe to say it’s a staple for the region’s cultures, who have developed a deep love affair with the delicious yellow vegetable. In Mexico and throughout Texas’ Mexican communities, corn grilled fresh on the street is the centerpiece of one of the most popular of street foods: elotes.

Elotes are traditionally a late-night street food, though in Texas, it’s not uncommon to see lines at elotes stands in the early evenings. Mix up a cup of your own to serve at your next barbecue.

Photo by Natalie Goff

Classic Recipe

This street-food favorite begins with fresh grilled corn. Follow this guide.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ear of corn
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons queso fresco
  • Valentina hot sauce (to taste)

Method:

  • Using a sharp knife, carve the kernels off your grilled ear of corn into a fresh piece of aluminum foil.
  • Add butter and use your knife to mix it in. The hot corn will melt the butter as you mix, forming a delicious, buttery base.
  • Add half the corn to a cup and top with half your sour cream and half your queso fresco.
  • Add the rest of the corn to the cup and top with the remaining sour cream and queso fresco.
  • Depending on how spicy you like your elotes, you can add hot sauce with the first layer of sour cream and queso or use a spoon to make a hole in the finished cup and drip in as much hot sauce as you can handle.
Photo by Natalie Goff

Variations

The heart of great street food is simple ingredients that offer infinite opportunity for adding a personal touch. Elotes recipes vary from street vendor to street vendor, and every region in Mexico has its own take on the dish.

  • Add fried onions and green chilies in with your corn.
  • Top your corn with lime juice and mayonnaise, in addition to cheese and salt.
  • Beef up your elotes with bone marrow, longaniza sausage, bacon, mushrooms, chicken, or beef.
  • Leave your elotes on the cob and top with sour cream, queso fresco, chipotle powder, and hot sauce.

For more summer recipes, try these backyard jellies, 1980s-inspired slushies, and twists on melon.

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